Duo told they face long jail terms over 'dark web' drugs racket
Two men have been warned they will receive substantial prison sentences over a drugs scam that involved the use of the internet's 'dark web'.
Richard Charles Patrick Sinclair (32), of Cranagh Road, Coleraine, used a bedroom in his grandmother's house to buy drugs over the internet from Holland using the online currency bitcoin, and then distributed them to customers inside DVD cases.
Kyle James Hall used his Chamberlain Street home in east Belfast, where he lived with his partner and their infant child, to run his own similar online drugs distribution network.
Sinclair pleaded guilty to a range of offences, including possessing class A drugs with intent to supply and importing a class A drug.
Hall also pleaded guilty to a range of offences including possessing class A, class B and class C drugs with intent to supply.
A third co-accused, Stephen Rodgers (29), of Glynn Park Close, Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, who was described as a "patsy" in the operation, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of class A, class B and class C drug and converting criminal property.
Belfast Crown Court yesterday heard the enterprise - described as a "sophisticated and commercial operation'' - involved several hundred thousand pounds.
Sinclair's defence barrister Michael Boyd said his defendant had made "full admissions'' at police interview and "actively assisted police in their enquiries to the extent of his offending and role, and deserves significant credit for that''.
He added: "He admitted at interview to very serious offences. He is ashamed and remorseful.''
Hall's defence barrister John O'Connor said his client admitted his role in selling morphine with intent to supply, adding: "This is not a case where he is standing outside gates or dealing drugs in a community setting.''
Barrister Luke Curran for Rodgers said the 29-year-old once had a bright career but fell into drug addiction, and Hall had been "considerably supportive with him''.
Judge Miller QC told Sinclair and Hall that "substantial periods in custody were inevitable'' for them for their involvement in the "the scourge that is drugs present in society''.
He added that as there was a considerable volume of paperwork he needed to consider, he would permit the three defendants to have bail.
He ordered them to return to court on January 6, 2017 for sentencing.